Thomas Kuhn is a rarity. Widely regarded as one of the most influential theorists of the physical sciences, he has also, largely through his concept of the ‘paradigm’, had a sustained effect on the social sciences and education. His classic The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is read and cited by scholars in an astonishing range of disciplines, in part due to its acquired association with progressive social research and practice. This article takes issue with Kuhn’s conceptions of science and its translation into educational practice, and suggests that they do not deserve the warm embrace they have received. It is argued that Kuhn’s popularity among progressive thinkers is somewhat ironic, since his portrayal of ‘normal science education’ is inherently indoctrinatory, presenting insurmountable barriers to acceptance as part of a liberal educational philosophy.
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